Mortars fired from Gaza (Archives)
Photo: AP

South under fire; Gaza crossings to remain closed

Shabbat offensive: Qassam rockets, mortar shells fired at southern Israel Saturday; no injuries reported in attacks

Attacks on south continue: Gaza Strip crossings will remain closed Sunday as well in the wake of the rocket and mortar shell offensive targeting southern Israel Saturday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak decided after consulting with security officials.


A Qassam rocket fired from the northern Gaza Strip Saturday evening landed in an open area in southern Israel, causing no injuries or damages.


Earlier, at least one rocket landed in the Ashkelon area, following a day of continuing attacks on southern communities. The anti-rocket alert system was activated in the city shortly after 5 pm, prompting residents to enter secured shelters. A loud blast was heard in the area a short while later; No injuries were reported in the attack.


Police and Magen David Adom ambulance service officials said that the rocket landed in the industrial zone south of Ashkelon. Police forces were attempting to pinpoint the landing site.


Ashkelon resident Itzik Mandalawi, said the anti-rocket alarm went off while he was with his baby.

"I didn't take any chances and entered the security room," he said. "It's an unpleasant situation, particularly when there are children around…I think that we need to do everything in order to fortify ourselves, and beyond this there is a government in Israel that needs to make sure the attacks stop."


However, Mandalawi said he is not sure whether a large-scale Gaza operation is the right solution.


"There were operations in Gaza in the past and it didn't help, so I'm very much against that, unless the security establishment has some new ideas," he said.


Meanwhile, Ashkelon resident Yaniv Reuveni said that by now he has become accustomed to ongoing rocket attacks.


"We just enter the security room, we don't play games," he said.


Palestinian killed in Gaza

Two Qassam rockets and a mortar shell landed near a southern Kibbutz earlier in the day. No injuries or damages were reported in the attack.


A short while earlier, sources in Gaza reported that a 21-year-old member of the Popular Resistance Committees was killed while attempting to plant an explosive device near the Gaza fence. The sources said the Salah al-Din Brigades member was killed by an IDF shell. However, the army denied that the man was killed by IDF fire.


Saturday morning, two mortar shells fired by Palestinians in northern Gaza Saturday morning landed in an open field near a kibbutz in Israel's western Negev region. There were no reports of injuries or damage.


An additional four mortar shells fired from the Strip landed in Palestinian and Egyptian territory.


The Salah al-Din Brigades, the armed wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, claimed responsibility for the attack.


9 rockets fired Friday evening

On Friday evening nine Qassam rockets fired towards Israel from the Hamas-controlled enclave, some of which fell in Palestinian territory.


Two rockets landed in the Negev, one of which fell in open spaces near Sderot. The other landed in open spaces in Shaar HaNegev Regional Council. No injuries or damage were reported.


Fatah's armed wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades said it launched the rockets in response to the "barbaric settler acts" that followed the eviction of a disputed house in the West Bank city of Hebron.


Palestinian MP and Fatah member Ashraf Jomaa called on the armed wing to carry out terror attacks to "avenge" the settler violence.


Following Friday's rocket barrages the residents of Israeli communities surrounding Gaza called on the government to expedite the fortification of their homes.


We hope that on Sunday the Finance Ministry won't crack wise," said Alon Shuster, head of Shaar HaNegev Regional Council. "I call on the government to stand up to finance officials trying to bargain with the fortification budget to the very last."


Ali Waked and Shmulik Hadad contributed to the report


פרסום ראשון: 12.06.08, 12:15
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